Sunday, August 14, 2005

Fuel tanker terror threat - US leak says

A terror alert was released in the US this week indicating a possible risk from suicide attackers using fuel tankers as weapons. The leak released initially by AP, was confirmed by the FBI, but they say is based on one source in California, which may not be reliable. Nonetheless, many news outlets are running with the story, CBS describing the threat as “ominous”. The US cities under threat were named as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The leaked Dept of Homeland Security report said "no other intelligence exists to corroborate this specific threat", but the intelligence report was “highly specific”, saying al-Qaeda planned to employ various types of fuel trucks as "vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices" in an effort to cause mass casualties before September 19. [The Australian]The report says the terrorist cells thought to be planning the attack will "execute the plan upon receipt of an order". It goes on to speculate that the recent videotape released by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qa'ida's deputy leader, may have been "the activation signal to the cells". And London was added to the list of possible targets, according to reports in many of today’s papers. The original report had however made no mention of London. This comes on the same weekend as a report in the Independent said there was ‘no link’ between the two attacks in London. The Independent said initial findings from the investigation into the July 7 suicide bombings that killed 52 people, and the failed second wave of attacks on July 21, showed the cells were not connected. It quoted an unnamed counter-terrorist source, "The key point is that the events are not connected… It appears they were self-contained, rather than being organised by some kind of mastermind”. The newspaper said police and MI5 feared the findings suggested more "self-sufficient" units similar to the July 7 cell were hiding in Britain. The investigation reportedly concluded that the alleged plotters behind the July 21 incidents were probably "copycats", targeting Tube trains and a bus. [Reuters]
[11:13 GMT 14/08/05]

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